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Retention Guidelines for Common Administrative Records of the Government of Canada

Section 2, Part 2

Real Property Management Function
(Subject-based arrangement)

Section 3 - Exceptions to the General Rentention Guideline - Real Property Management Function

Subject Group Subject and Description Retention Guidelines and / or Remarks  Always apply the General Retention Guideline unless specified otherwise
3.1 Accommodation Current and future planning and requirements, plans for expansion, allocation of space, offers of space, etc.  
  • Reports and statistics (Monthly, weekly, status, etc…)
3 years
3.2 Accounting for and inventorying real property assets Real property, inventories, property records, etc.  
3.3 Buildings Acquisition through lease, purchase, rental or transfer. Note: This activity does not include the financial management of Comptrollership activities related to acquisitions. These records are covered by the MIDA 1999/004 Comptrollership Function. As well, all records documenting activities related to any real property, or about the property itself, which has a recognized or classified heritage designation from the Department of Canadian Heritage are operational in nature, and are therefore, excluded from the scope of MIDA 2001/002  
  • General correspondence on policy, regulations, offers of buildings for lease, purchase or rentals, investigations of buildings, reports, etc., excluding legal documents
Addresses and locations Until superseded or obsolete
Alterations and repairs 3 years after completion or cancellation2
  • Arrangements and consultant services
  • Tenders, discussions with architects, contractors and suppliers about costs, building materials, subcontractors, completion dates, progress reports, etc., inspection and takeover
3 years after takeover
  • Cancelled projects
2 years after cancellation
  • General requirements, preliminary discussions and investigations
5 years after completion of structure
  • General correspondence and reports of the investigation into the damage
3 years after investigation completed3
  • Sale, transfer, expiry of lease, etc., excluding legal documents
3 years after sale, transfer or expiry of lease
  • Routine correspondence
Elevator services  
  • Routine correspondence
1 year
Energy conservation  
Fires, fire prevention and protection  
  • Regulations, fire drills, precautions, automatic sprinkler and alarm systems, etc.
5 years
  • Reports - major fires
2 years after report is made to the Office of the Canadian Fire Marshal
  • Reports - minor fires
Legal documents  
  • Lease, rental, concessions
3 years after termination or expiry of lease, concession, right of way, etc… involved
  • Purchase, transfer, sale, etc…
Original documents are transferred to new owner. Institutions must retain copies until all operational and legal requirements have expired.
  • Cleaning and janitorial services, redecorating, garbage removal, recycling etc…
1 year
Plans, drawings and specifications  
  • Actual construction plans, drawings and specifications (for building and utility services such as plumbing, hydro, lighting etc…)
Until superseded or obsolete
  • Government owned
2 years after obsolete or expiry/cancellation of lease 4
  • Leased
3 years after completion or cancellation5
  • Routine correspondence (for financial transactions see Part 4: Comptrollership Function)
  • From fall-out, nuclear blast, warning devices (sirens) etc… Includes preventive measures
3 years
Signage (includes records associated with identifying government real property - advance signs, primary identification signs, directory boards, common-use etc…)  
3.4 Lands Acquisition through lease, rental, purchase, or transfer  
  • Offers, investigation of sites, surveys, etc., excluding legal documents
  • Ditching and drainage
2 years
  • Excavation
2 years
  • Landscaping and gardening
2 years
  • Sales, transfer, expiry of lease, etc., excluding legal documents
3 years after sale, transfer, or expiry of lease
  • Routine
Flood control  
  • Preventive measures and control of minor floods
3 years
Legal documents  
  • Lease, rental, rights of way, easements and concessions
3 years after termination or expiry of lease, concession, right of way etc…
  • Purchase, sale and transfer
Original documents are transferred to new owner. Institutions must retain copies until all operational and legal requirements have expired
Lettings and concessions  
  • Rights of way, easements, leases, concessions, etc., for Crown-owned lands by private corporations or persons or privately-owned lands by the Crown, excluding legal documents
3 years after expiry of lease, concession, right of way etc… involved
  • Routine
Parking areas and services 2 years
Recreation areas 2 years
Roads, streets and sidewalks (including snow removal) 2 years
Trespassing 2 years
3.5 Utilities Utility systems - Air conditioning and ventilation, refrigeration, gas, hydro power, lighting, plumbing and heating, telecommunication, water and sewer, disposal of hazardous waste 6  
  • Installation
2 years after installation

2. Originally broken down into "Major (over $1000) - 3 years after completion or cancellation" and "Minor (under $1000) - 1 year after completion or cancellation." As these dollar values are outdated the LAC team decided to amalgamate and adopt the greater retention period for all. That said, currently, the Comptrollership Function suggests a standard retention period of 6 fiscal years for financial transaction records such as vouchers, invoices, claims etc... This retention is applied after all administrative actions have been completed. What LAC is questioning is whether there are any legislative or policies in place which bolster the need to apply the same retention period to common administrative records that support or document a financial action. References: the 1996 Treasury Board "Policy on Electronic Authorization and Authentication" Appendix A, Guidelines, iii Audit states that "The electronic authorization and authentication system and processes should be designed to ensure complete auditability. The audit trail should include delegation matrices, user profiles and all the electronic authorization and authentication data and files required to reconstruct the sequence of events and the transactions processed" and the Treasury Board "Policy on Internal Audit" (April 1, 2006) under section 5. Policy Requirements, 5.5 states that "Deputy heads of all departments are responsible for:" under 5.5.3 "Ensuring that the audit committee receives all of the information and documentation needed or requested to fulfill its responsibilities, subject to applicable legislation."

3. Previously divided into: Major: over $1000 - 3 years after investigation complete and Minor: under $1000 - 1 year after investigation complete. These dollar value are not conducive to today's market… Team members thought it best to remove the "major" and "minor" categories and go with the higher retention period for all damage correspondence/reports.

4. Original retention guidance stated "Until obsolete." With amalgamation of all "Plans, drawings and specifications" for Buildings and Utilities this was changed to "2 years after obsolete or expiry/cancellation of lease" in keeping with retention guidance originally provided in Real Property Function for Utilities/Actual construction plans and specifications/leased - 2 years after obsolete or expiry/cancellation of lease.

5. "Routine Correspondence" for Plans and Specifications previously broken down into "… minor structures worth less than $5,000 - 1 year" and "… others worth more than $5,000 - 3 years." LAC team has decided to amalgamate and adopt higher retention to reflect current dollar value.

6. New sub-heading developed to streamline and readily identify the variety of utility systems (previously distinguished separately). "Garbage disposal" has been removed to Buildings/Maintenance… See endnote 3 as well.

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